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South Valley Journal

Hundreds show up to support Herriman High’s Hope Walk

Dec 01, 2017 08:00AM ● By Jennifer Gardiner

Community members and students gather for Hope Walk. (Photo Courtesy Herriman City)

Herriman High School students wanted to bring awareness and resources to their community to combat suicide, so they put together a “Hope Walk,” Nov. 4. Hundreds of people showed up to show their support. 

There were two suicides in the community this past summer, along with many attempted suicides involving people that Riverton students know. Student Ella Quealy said the Hope Walk is held to remember these people. 

“The adviser spoke to the students and indicated that there is a problem, and the students wanted to come up with idea of how to resolve it,” Ella said. “We decided to have a walk, to help get suicide awareness out there for the community and provide them with resources and a way that others can get help.”

Another student, Maddie Allred, said she was as unaware of the big issue over suicides until their teacher, Julianna Wing, addressed the issue with them. 

“I heard about one that happened over the summer, and it affected me because I knew him, and I was friends with him,” Maddie said. “It’s a touchy subject for a lot of people, and I don’t think it should be. It’s a hard topic; we need to address it so it is something everyone is aware of and to watch for signs and know how to help prevent it.” 

Maddie said suicide can affect anyone you know, and if you do not know the signs, it can be something you regret later in life, especially if it happens to someone you love. 

Jared Gerhart said by providing this walk, Riverton students were able to provide resources for those who think they want to commit suicide.

“Our group of students, mainly those involved in Future Business Leaders of America and Distributive Education Clubs of America, and some members of the Hope Squad hope that our efforts will help students struggling to not take the route of suicide,” Jared said. “It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem they may be having. For those who think they are not worth it, we hope they will go to those resources because they are worth something.”

The students, under the direction of CTE Instructor and FBLA Adviser Wing, have learned a lot preparing for the Hope Walk, especially how they can help others. Student Kai Peterson said the main thing you can do to help someone is to get rid of the stigma. 

“Be an open person that others can come and talk to,” she said. “Be someone people can open up to, and when they do, focus on getting help for that person if it is dire—a mental health professional, a teacher, a trusted adult or someone like that. Be the person that helps bridge the gap between a mental health professional, a parent or anyone who can help someone suffering from things like mental illness.”

Bailey Burges, who is also part of the planning committee, said she thinks all the awareness is helping. 

“Our walk didn’t just bring awareness; it brought resources to everyone who came to the walk, which was over 600 people,” Bailey said. “They all got a place they can turn to, and not only for just them but those people who came to the walk; they know hundreds of more people who by branching out—it can definitely help.”

Suicide awareness discussions have become more prevalent since many celebrities have shed light on the subject. Most recently, singer Logic came out with his own song about the epidemic. The song, which features Alessia Cara and Khalid, begins from the perspective of someone calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — and confessing that they “don’t want to be alive.” The second verse features the lyrics “You don’t gotta die, I want you to be alive,” as it is being told to the caller by the person offering support on the other end of the line. 

Student Carter Johnson said all these types of messages to teens help the cause a lot.

“As more celebrities get the word out about it, it gets rid of the stigma that we can’t talk about it,” Carter said. “As more celebrities start to help, more people will hopefully talk about it, since it has been so hard to discuss in the past.”

The walk started at Herriman High and ended at Herriman City Hall. Students from all over the valley attended by students from all over the valley, as did Herriman City Mayor Carmen Freeman and hundreds of community members, some whom have personally been affected by the suicide of someone they love. 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, as well as prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255.